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For the love of the game . . .

Laura Myers | Thursday, September 3, 2009

This time last year, when the Irish opened the season against San Diego State, I was in the press box to cover my first football game.

Before the game started, I sat down at my laptop with a plate of free food and said to the senior sitting next to me, “Not to sound like a newbie, but this is probably the coolest thing that’s ever happened to me.”

He replied, “No, don’t worry – it’s Awesome.”

As it ended up last season, between The Observer, student managing and losing my ID card, I only sat in the student section for one game, the win over Purdue. And I didn’t have a problem with it.

This season, I almost didn’t even buy tickets, and had to be convinced to do so by friends and alumni. I wasn’t thrilled to hear about the gates being open Friday afternoons so fans could walk through the tunnel and onto the field – for me, it’s old hat. Outdoor pep rallies didn’t excite me. And I figured I would hear Drummer’s Circle from my room in Cavanaugh.

But when I found out my group has an extra ticket, I invited my best friend up for the game. She’s a huge Notre Dame fan and is super excited. I got excited too. I told her she has to get here by midnight for Drummer’s Circle, that we’ll buy brats at 9 a.m. from the annoying kid outside my dorm, and then we’ll watch as the Band marches through Fieldhouse Mall. After that maybe we’ll watch the players come out of Mass, check out the Glee Club, do some tailgating. My friends and I will teach her the cheers and show her everything game day has to offer.

So I started thinking – why aren’t I excited about these traditions for every game? If they’re so amazing to an outsider, shouldn’t they be about 10 times better for someone on the inside?

Then I realized, yes, they are. I haven’t appreciated Notre Dame football like I should, and I hope no one else makes the same mistake I do.

So students, from new freshmen to seniors to those in grad school, make the most of the first game of the season and all of the ones to come. Go to the pep rally, tailgate, see the Band.

But most importantly, come to the student section pumped up and ready to root for the Irish. Scream, dance and clap in unison with every cheer and cadence.

Because standing in that large mass of students, watching our classmates in their first of many victories this season, is the coolest thing that’s ever happened to any of us.